The Mountain

Written by White Shade

Chapter One: Ready or not, Here We Come!

"I'm going to climb that mountain!" I said to my friend Jeff.

"But why? So many people have climbed it. Why don't you climb that other mountain, that everyone says is suicidal to try a climb?"

While Jeff was talking I glanced around the park where a few people were playing games and relaxing.

"Because, I'm finally old enough to climb mountains other than that 600 foot practice hill, but I don't want to end my life prematurely trying to climb a stupid mountain!"

"You have a point there. When are you gonna climb it?" he asked.

"Next week. I have to buy some better climbing equipment, and get some other people to come with me."

"Neato. Well, I have to go back home now, my dad's coming back from his trip."

"Okay", I said, "Bye! See you tomorrow maybe!".

"Bye", Jeff responded.

Hello. I'm Steve, and I'm 17 years old. I do mountain climbing as a hobby, and I've been stuck climbing a 600 foot practice hill for the past 3 years. A few days ago I turned 17, and my parents said I could finally climb other mountains. I've had my mind set on the Whiteye, called that because of a strange rock formation that looks like an eye when there's snow. It's been climbed several hundred times, and it's an easy climb, and thats why I want to climb it.

The only mountain near our town, Appleton, that hasn't been climbed is the Shaman. In some Indian language that means "Rock of Death". Well, actually, as not to lie to you, the Shaman has had many Climbing attempts, but none of them have succeeded. On many attempts, the ropes have snapped because of sharp rock, and all the people fell down from half a mile up. On other tries, part of the expeditions' men got crushed by landslides. Many other people have been frozen after being trapped. In other words, no one who's tried to climb the Shaman has survived, and that's why I'm not going to climb it.

"Hi Mom, Hi Dad!" I yelled as I opened the front door of our house.

"Welcome back!" my Mom said from the kitchen. "We have something for you!"

"Oh cool! What is it?" I replied.

When I walked into the kitchen, my mom handed a box to me. I ripped it open, and looked inside. "All right! New climbing boots! Thanks!" I cheered as I looked at my them, one of the best types you can get in Appleton.

"When we saw them, we said, 'Steve would love these', and I guess we were right!" my dad grinned.

"I'll go try them on now," I said.

I walked upstairs to my room, and put on the new boots and laced them up. The boots weren't like lead weights, and they fit perfectly. Padding in the interior made them very comfortable, more comfortable than anything I've ever worn. I walked back downstairs, noting how much like normal shoes they felt like, and said "These boots are perfect! They feel like normal shoes, but they've got the best climbing-traction possible."

"We know, the person at the store told us about them", Dad said.

That night I went to bed thinking about how much fun it'll be to climb the Whiteye.

The day before our climbing trip, I had everyone who was coming with me to come over. Jeff and a few of my other friends came with all of their stuff.

"Okay, let's all make sure we have everything we need", I said.

We all checked for our equipment, and made sure nothing was wrong with it. We all had our ropes, mine being slightly more fancy with steel lace inside of it for strength our boots, hats, gloves, hooks, backpacks, rope-spikes, and other miscellaneous items. We had to examine the rope-spikes carefully, because they would hold the rope into cliffs, and if they broke we'd all fall down really really far, which wouldn't be very healthy.

"Okay, everyone have everything, and is it okay?"

Everyone nodded affirmation. Just then my mom called, "Dinner time, everyone!" and we all went into the living room and had a tasty, filling and highly nutritious dinner in front of the TV, which we rarely ever do, but tonight was special.

That night, we all slept in the living room, testing our sleeping bags. We all went to bed early, so we wouldn't be super tired in the morning.

Chapter Two: Let's go!

Then, it was morning. We all got up, and my Mom came in and gave each of us a box with food in it. We packed up all of our miscellaneous items and equipment, and then we were ready. My dad drove us over to the Lodge, and we bought a map of the Whiteye and the trails on it. All of us agreed on a trail to take, and we took a snowmobile to the base of the mountain. I fired the rope up with a grapple-gun and made sure the rope was in tight. It was. The Whiteye Expedition was officially on.

After about 20 minutes, we had gotten to the 50 foot ledge, the first point of the hill, where all the other trails started.

"Everyone ready for the big climb?" I asked.

"Yup", "Yeah", and "I guess so" was the general answer...

"Then let's go. Here's the Green Trail, the one that we're going on," I replied.

After a quick double checking of the equipment, we started climbing. Hand and footholds were easy to find due to the fact that we were on an easy trail. We talked with each other from time to time, saying "Here's a good place to put your foot," or "Be careful, this rock is wobbly". Before we knew it, we had reached the second level lodge, about 1000 feet up. In fact, it had already been 4 hours, and it was getting somewhat chilly and dark. Eric, another of my friends who came with me, suggested that we stay in the lodge for the night. All of us were getting tired, so we set up our sleeping bags, and had a bit of dinner. I don't know about my friends, but I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I woke up again when my head hit the pillow quite hard, but I fell asleep quickly after that.

Chapter Three: Up and at 'em

The second I woke up, I knew something was different. I looked outside, and saw that there was snow on the ground. "There's only an inch, and the cliff is perfect; there's no ice or slippery spots. It's just a little bit chilly," Jeff told me. The snow was powdery, and wouldn't get in our way at all.

After about two hours we had reached another smaller ledge. Jeff piped up and said, "Let's rest here for a few minutes and have something to eat, because I don't know about you but I'm STARVING. What's that noise?"

Suddenly the ground started vibrating. We stared at each other. We stared up. There was a huge cloud of white coming down at us.

Eric, Jeff, my other two friends, and I all gasped and stared.

There was a cave in the ledge that I had noticed a minute or two before, so I yelled "AVALANCHE! CAVE!" to get my point across fast, and without thinking we all jumped into it. A second later snow thundered down over the entrance of the cave, blocking off most of the light and causing a tremendous racket. After about a minute the snow stopped falling, and we kicked the snow out without much trouble because it was light and fluffy snow.

"That was too close," I said, and everyone nodded in agreement.

"Wow. I'm glad that cave was there or we'd be crushed, smashed and falling down real fast right now," Eric somberly mentioned. "Let's just hope that doesn't happen again, shall we?" Jeff sarcastically said.

Slowly and carefully we went around the ledge until we reached a snowless spot.

"Finally, no more snow! I was getting cold and I didn't want to be almost killed by a few thousand tons of the once-so-innocent white stuff," I chided.

"White stuff? I've never heard anyone ever call snow White Stuff, and I've definitely never heard anyone say 'Once-so-innocent' about anything, much less snow," Eric replied.

After a minute's rest, we started to climb again and we got to the Level 3 ledge just in time for bed.

"I never thought a sleeping bag inside a wooden lodge a mile up from the ground and in freezing cold temperatures would feel so good!" Jeff laughed.

"And I just don't want to be nearly killed again tomorrow," Dan, my other friend, said.

"I don't know about anyone else, but I definitely want to just go to sl...." Eric started saying, but he had fallen asleep before he even finished talking.

Chapter Four: Home stretch

In the morning we got up pretty quickly, because it was getting late, and the temperature was a good 40 degrees.

"Wow! 40 Degree Fahrenheit temperature! I've never thought anything below 65 was marginally acceptable, and now this feels like a sauna compared to the 32 we had yesterday," Dan said.

"Hmmph. Suit yourself, because I'm frigid," Jeff mumbled grumpily.

"Cheer up, ol' boy, it'll be better once we start climbing," I said, doing my best "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous/Sherlock Holmes" accent, which in fact is pretty lousy.

"Yeah yeah, let's just get moving," Jeff replied.

We quickly packed up all of our sleeping bags and cooked a quick breakfast. Twenty minutes later we were ready to go. I checked the map. Level 3 Lodge was the last stop before the Summit.

"We'll reach the top today as long as we don't get another avalanche!" Jeff excitedly said.

"I'd say so. Oh no, I just realized that this is the hardest part of the whole climb," I replied.

"Let's just get going, and we can discuss the difficulties of the climb when we get there, hmmm?" Eric said.

I climbed up first, and hammered a rope-spike into the cliff, and then attached the rope to it.

"Okay, we can start climbing. Hammer in a rope-spike every 10 or 20 feet so we don't fall and kill ourselves, okay?" I yelled down at everyone.

Jeff, Eric and Dan climbed up, hammering in more spikes here and there.

"Let's just hope we're wasting time with these spikes, because I don't want any of us to fall," Dan yelled up at us.

We kept on climbing. It was getting tough, because hand and footholds were becoming more spread out and I was getting stiff.

"This is tiring! Hurry up you guys!" Eric shouted.

"Be quiet and stop reminding me about it!" Jeff shouted back.

"Let's ALL be quiet and keep climbing!" Dan yelled at everyone.

A little while later, we had about 200 feet left to climb. "Two Hundred feet you guys! Just think of that as about 50,400 centimeters, and we all know how small centimeters are!" I yelled down.

"Yeah yeah. Just keep climbing. Woah! Whew, that rock was too loose." Dan yelled up.

Suddenly, when we were about 100 feet from the top, Eric's shrill cry of "Oh no!" pierced the sky, and suddenly the weight on the rope increased. I looked down, and saw Eric hanging by his rope in mid-air, yelling "Get me back up you fools! Stop sitting there and staring and HELP ME!". Jeff, who was the next spot up from him yelled, "Hold on! I'll keep the rope steady, and you try and get back on, okay?"

"All right, I'll try," was Eric's reply.

"Eric, you okay? Did you know that if you had fallen you would have been spread over about four square acres when you hit? People would ask 'Where's Eric?' and we'd say 'He's over there, and there, and there, and there', heh heh heh!" Dan yelled down when Eric finally scrabbled back on.

"Oh be quiet you stupid fool! You don't need to remind me about that. As if it didn't go through my mind about 5000 times in about two seconds?" Eric shouted back. "Anyway, we can go on now, I'm fine."

We continued on, somewhat more silently. The minutes past by, and the distance to the top decreased.

"Man, when are we going to get there? It's as if my hands and feet aren't part of me anymore!" Jeff yelled up at me.

"I have no idea but it'll be soon I think," I yelled down.

"That'll be the day," Dan shouted up.

"What's that supposed to mean?!" Jeff shouted down at him.

"I've got no idea. Let's just climb, okay?" Dan yelled back up.

Then, when I put my hand up to fish for a handhold, I felt a ledge.

"We're here! We're here!" I shouted.

"Good for you. Now pull yourself up and stop making up wait here while you gloat! My hand is dying!" Eric shouted up.

I pulled myself up, and gaped at what I saw. No, I wasn't falling off. I was looking at Appleton and the surrounding country from the top of a mile and a half high mountain. It was amazing.

"Look at the clouds! They're just like fluff!" Jeff said with awe and wonder in his voice.

Then Jeff said "This'll be cool" as he pulled a penny out of his pocket.

"Wait what are you doing?" Dan snapped.

"This," he tossed it over the side, and we watched as it flew down, and it disappeared after a few feet.

"I hope there was no one below us!" Jeff said.

"Ohh it's a little late to think about THAT now, isn't it?" Dan glared.

After staying the night on the top, we climbed back down to Level 2 again. I looked at the ground, and saw a blackened hole. I picked up the object in it, and laughed "It's the penny, all blackened and melted!".

"Yeah yeah. Let's just go to bed now, okay?" Jeff yawned.

The next day or two was spent climbing down. We wanted to get off the mountain and into warm weather fast.

The day after that, we got home. It was 8:00 PM, and we all fell asleep on the living room floor after staying "hi" to my parents. We didn't wake up till at least 1:00 PM the next day.

"That was so fun!" Dan said.

"I know. Maybe next time we should climb the Shaman," Eric mentioned.

All of us stared at him, and threw a bunch of pillows at him.

"Anyway, I just want to have a bit of a vacation for about two months. My arms will never be the same. And I don't even want to think about how stiff I'll be tomorrow," Jeff piped in.

"You have a point. We probably won't even be able to move," I said.

"Well, that's tomorrow, right now I want to EAT! That stuff we had on the mountain was worse than dirt!" Dan chided.

"That's probably the truest thing I've heard anyone say in years. Let's eat!" I laughed.

My mom who had been standing at the door came in with a tray of cookies and cupcakes. "Your dad and I baked these ourselves. I figured you'd be hungry," she said.

We all nodded in thanks, because we were too busy scarfing down cookies and cupcakes to actually say anything.

My mother just grinned and went back to the dining room to read a magazine.

"You know, I think I'll write about this," I said a little while later when we were all stuffed and the tray was empty.

"Good Idea. Maybe your English teacher would like it!" Dan said.

Chapter Five: The end

So, the next day, I sat down at my laptop, and started typing:

"I'm going to climb that mountain!" I said to my friend.

The End

- White Shade